By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Mineral County assessor Rose Ann Maine is in Flatwoods, W.Va.,. today and Thursday to answer questions about three years of non-compliance with state regulations in regard to property valuations in the rapidly growing business area south of Keyser.
Maine will not be alone, however, as assessors from six other counties have been summoned to attend the meeting of the Property Valuation Training and Procedures Commission, which sets procedures for property assessments in each county of the state.
According to published reports, 46 of West Virginia's 55 counties were cited for some sort of violation or other in regard to sales, valuations and other issues.
MIneral County commission president Janice LaRue, who serves on the Property Valuation Commission at the appointment of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, explained that the "PVC monitors to see if the assessor's offices have complied with things like sales reports, appraisals, etc.," and Maine's non-compliance fell in the area of sales reports.
"If you are out of compliance for three years, you have to come before the board," LaRue said.
Maine explained that the area in question is the rapidly growing business district between Southern Drive and Keyser Wal-mart.
In order to do a proper sales report and subsequent property valuation, the current sales figures have to be compared to previous years.
"In this case, you don't have like sales to compare it with," she said.
LaRue said because there had been no adjustment to property values for three years some of the businesses in that area "were stuck with a huge increase" as the county tried to catch up.
Maine said she feels she is ready to address the board, as she has already been taking steps to bring her office back into compliance.
"I hired a retired supervisor from the state tax department and we're moving in the right direction," she said. "I feel that we're fully trained now."
Maine says whether there will be any changes in property values will be determined by what that retiree and her appraisers find.
"If it mandates we'll have to raise the values, then that's what we'll do,"' she said.
Maine said this is the first time her office has ever been called before the PVC board.
"I certainly hope they look on us favorably," she said.